The Alien’s First Contact

Minori Chihara – Contact.

Minori Chihara (Minorin) catapulted onto the stage of otaku limelight with her role in the whirlwind of Suzumiya Haruhi. Like her youthful colleague, Minorin has taken this opportunity to hone her fan base and her portfolio.

You can watch the promotional video for her first solo album, based on track 2, Shijin no Tabi, here.

With many other seiyuu pop solo works, what matters the most is not so much who’s on the cover, but who’s producing and writing the songs. Elements Garden is behind Contact…and that means the music can’t suck that bad, right?

Actually, yeah, it doesn’t. I’m not particularly partial to either Minorin or Elements Garden (although I like their track record), and even I thought this first CD is categorically inoffensive, pleasant at parts, and generally passable.

But on the flip side, it might be a bad matchup. Minorin does not sing like Nana Mizuki and her voice just doesn’t land in a very impressive range, and it lacks impact. Unlike, say, Chiaki Ishikawa, Minorin’s ballad voice is passible at best even if it operates at the same range. It just doesn’t have the same depth. The weak, if existent vibrato pushes it beyond “irritating” into “passible” but that’s not at all flattering.

I guess the best litmus test of this CD for you is Shijin no Tabi. If you like that song for the vocals, then you’ll like this CD. Unfortunately for me I liked the instrumentation more, and while admirable, Minorin doesn’t outperform herself anywhere else on that album, making Shijin no Tabi pretty much the best track on the CD.

To put things in perspective, heck, that’s more praise than I can say for the likes Nana Mizuki’s, Saeko Chiba’s, and a legion of others seiyuu solo first-albums. But I guess she’s still a youngin with a lot of promise. There’s enough talent to do better, so please learn to sing better for your fans, Minorin-san!


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